Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Top Down
Bottom UP

In Yoga with meditation, with breath control practice, with movement, with centering, with tension release, we find what is sometimes called, "Top Down, Bottom Up," benefits.

The brain finds its way to the PFC or pre-frontal cortex with our centered mindfulness and breath; thus, it moves out of the emotional brain or "Fight, Flight, Freeze, Faint" of the Sympathetic Nervous System.  Our heart rates slow down, our blood pressure lowers, our thinking brain engages.

Several ways to get this accomplished is to find a comfortable seat and add in one of the following breath practices:

Alternate Nostril Breath - closing off the right nostril, breathe in through the left; close off the left nostril, breathe out through the right.  Breathe in through the right; close off and breathe out through the left.  Repeat for 1 - 2 minutes or more.

  • Centering
  • Brain Balancing
  • Excellent for Test Taking, Performance anxiety
  • Concentration
Letting Go Breath - Inhale through the nose, and exhale with sound out the mouth
  • Tension Release
  • Signaling to the Brain Stem and Limbic (emotional) Brain it is okay to let go of stress
  • By opening the mouth, it releases jaw and facial tension

Ocean Sounding Breath, aka "Ujjayi" or Victorious Breath
  • So Hum which means "I am that..."
  • Expansive for the lungs
  • Heat building in the body
  • Excellent for withdrawing attention from the outside and placing inside
Three Part Breath 
  • Builds Diaphragm as you use this VIP muscle to cause the belly to rise with each inhale
  • Causes the ribs to expand outward increasing our capacity for a full oxygen intake
  • Lifts the heart center and opens up the area above the heart
  • Centering
  • Focus
  • Concentration
  • Engages the Prefrontal Cortex of the brain where our discernment and intuition lie

Using the breath to center, engage mindfulness, concentrate, release tension then prepares us to work from the floor or earth upward with movement.

Top Down

Connecting with our feet on the ground and our crown reaching upward, we build movement into our practice that compliments our centered, breathing and mind calming activity.

Six Movements of the Spine
Lateral or Side Flexion

Sun Salutations
9, 12, or 17 movements that bring the spine into flexion (forward folding) and extension (back bending)

Balancing Postures
Standing on one leg or the other with Tree, Eagle, Standing Pigeon, Dancer, Warrior 3, Extended Hand to Foot Pose or Warrior 4 (not holding the foot), and many others

Warrior Flow
Warrior 1, Side Warrior or Warrior 2, Triangle, Extended Side Angle, Reverse Warrior, Revolved Triangle, Lunge Pose, and many others

Seated Postures
Boat Pose, Head of the Knee Pose, Wide Legged Forward Fold Pose, Pigeon, Windshield Wiper Knees, and many others

Final Rest or Savasana; when the head is below the heart, the body rests.

All of these bring together the Brain, the Body, and the Heart.  Mind follows breath, breath follows movement, movement follows mind...three part harmony.

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